Overview

 

  • On Tuesday, February 8th, Chairman John Cruz, Greg Beeman, and John Bartley met with Springfield Representative Bud Williams, who Chairs the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion. They discussed the ongoing House order studying diversity in construction, and our concerns with the barriers created using project labor agreements, along with suggestions for language if a PLA must remain, to include provisions to allow for all minority contractors to use their existing workers. 

 

  • On Wednesday, February 9th, Greg Beeman, John Bartley, and Shelley Kaleita met with Watertown Representative Steven Owens to provide a slide deck introductory overview of ABC, our pre-apprentice programs, workforce development and training programs, member projects, and so forth. Representative Owens noted he would like ABC to remain engaged with his office regarding our ongoing activities with pre-apprentice programs, workforce development and training programs, member projects, and in the realm of DEI.

 

  • On Tuesday, February 8th, the Department of Energy Resources released a 'Straw Proposal' containing the proposed updates to the existing Stretch Code and a framework for a new Specialized Stretch Code. Within the proposal which calls for sweeping changes to existing building codes, this would also require developers to use 'more energy efficient construction materials; install solar panels wherever possible; and among a range of other measures, wire new homes, offices, and other buildings with the necessary cables to enable them to use heat pumps and appliances that don’t use fossil fuels', and so forth. The proposal would also 'create a new specialized stretch code that aims to have all new buildings either emit no greenhouse gasses or have the ability to offset their emissions by producing renewable energy, and would promote the construction of passive housing, which requires little energy to heat or cool. Participation in the new stretch code would be voluntary, but state officials said those that take part would be eligible for some $600 million in energy efficiency incentives over the next decade.' DOER is seeking comments on the proposal and will hold geographically targeted public hearings in late February/early March to receive verbal public comment, and written comments will be accepted until March 9th. 

 

  • On Thursday, February 10th, Republican Representative Shawn Dooley announced he will challenge Democrat Senator Becca Rausch to represent the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District. Rausch has represented the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District since 2019, but the boundaries of the district will change slightly in 2022 after redistricting and the district will include the towns of Bellingham, Dover, Franklin, Medfield, Milford, Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Sherborn, and Wrentham. Dooley, a former town clerk in Norfolk, joined the House in 2014 after winning a special election, and went on to get elected four more times. In addition to his legislative work, Dooley is an on-call firefighter and emergency medical technician and served as both Norfolk town clerk and chair of the school committee. He has also operated a small construction company and worked as a financial consultant and planner. In 2020, Dooley won one of 80 seats on the Republican State Committee and Dooley challenged Lyons for the party chairmanship in 2021 but came up short.

 

  • On Tuesday, February 8th, a former Capitol Hill aide, Sydney Levin-Epstein, announced that she will run for the reshaped Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester District in the Massachusetts Senate. Levin-Epstein is poised to face off against Democratic Representative Jake Oliveira of Ludlow, who announced last week that he plans to run for the seatSenator Eric Lesser is vacating to run for lieutenant governor. A Longmeadow Democrat, Levin-Epstein worked in the offices of Congressman Richard Neal and U.S. Senator Ed Markey, where she said she focused on local transportation needs, foreign policy, and constituent communications. She served as deputy finance director in Markey's 2020 reelection campaign and then on Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia's Senate campaign. The new Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester district will include Palmer, Warren, and South Hadley in addition to portions or all of Belchertown, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granby, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Springfield, Warren, and Wilbraham.

 

  • On Thursday, February 10th, the State House News Service noted the Massachusetts Senate intends to reopen its sessions inside the State House to the public on Tuesday, February 22nd, according to a spokesman, who said talks are continuing with the House about a broader reopening. Antonio Caban, spokesman for Senate President Karen Spilkasaid Senate leaders are hopeful about a fuller reopening of the building and that talks on that subject are ongoing with House leaders. The State House has remained closed to the public since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and well beyond the end of the state of emergency and reopening of other public spaces. Governor Charlie Baker said that he supports reopening the State House and opposes attaching a proof-of-vaccine requirement. Legislative leaders have repeatedly said they are talking about reopening plans but have yet to publicly outline specifics about reopening guidelines. Guidelines might address topics like whether people would need to wear masks or show proof of vaccination to enter the building.